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FTC shuts down multi-million dollar phone scam

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What do you say to a group of thieves that steal more than $20 million from tens of thousands of older consumers? The FTC says, “Gotcha!”

The FTC filed a lawsuit in federal court to stop a multi-million dollar cross-border telemarketing operation led by Ari Tietolman. The FTC alleged that phone scammers in the U.S. and Canada pitched bogus fraud protection, legal protection, and pharmaceutical benefit services in a ruse to steal money from unsuspecting seniors. According to the FTC’s complaint, the scammers used scare tactics and outright lies to get consumers’ bank account information. Sometimes the scammers impersonated bankers or government officials and told consumers their accounts were at risk. The FTC alleges that, once the scammers had the bank information, they withdrew money from the victims’ accounts without their knowledge.

A federal judge granted the FTC’s request to halt the scam and freeze the defendants’ assets pending the outcome of the FTC’s lawsuit.

Telemarketing scammers are good at what they do, but you can take action to counter them and help others from becoming a victim:

  • Recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud, like callers who ask for money first or who want to know your bank account, credit card or Social Security number. Share the warning signs with family, friends, and co-workers.
  • Report the calls to the FTC. Complaints matter at the FTC; they help drive agency investigations and cases just like the one against First Consumers.
  • Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register online or call toll-free 1-888-382-1222 from the number you wish to register. You’ll get fewer telemarketing calls within 31 days of registering your number.
  • Subscribe to our blog for consumer news and scam alerts, and share the information.

Comments

Please report the calls to law enforcement. You can report to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

You can also report to your state Attorney General’s office, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state and local consumer protection agencies.

I like your blog. I enjoyed reading your blog. It was amazing. Thanks a lot.

The US Government is a JOKE JOKE JOkE

You are RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT!

This is the single most abusive telemarketer on the planet. Can you please at least tell us if there is an ongoing investigation or is the FTC simply ignoring this? A simple cursory internet search will reveal the scope of this, has been going on for years, calls individuals multiple times a day from masked numbers. Literally the only way to get away is to change your phone number (but then I feel bad for whoever else gets assigned your number). They are probably violating 50 different laws and law enforcement is silent.

If you haven't already, please report the calls to the FTC. Complaints help drive agency investigations and cases just like the one against First Consumers.

You can also contact your state Attorney General’s office.

REPORTING DOESN'T MATTER! I have reported for years. No action or follow-up on any of my complaints. I am on the do not call registry. I ask them to put me on their do not call list. I block the number but the number always changes. They don't care. Waste of my time, like every other vulture and predator I have tried to fight in the US. Comments like yours are just a placebo for the gullible masses. Our government doesn't give a care about the little people like me :'( I just want some peace and serenity and the ability to live my life. My mother and father are in hospice care. I can't just not answer the phone. They call when I have been told to expect a call any moment saying my mother is dead. Explained this to them. They don't give a care. If I lived in India, I would pay them a personal visit since our government refuses to do anything about it. Instead I call them back 50 times to tie up their phone line. It's the only thing I can do.

I have reported them. I block the numbers they call me from. Nothing stops their calls. It is out rages that this can go on at this point it is harassment. Numerous calls every day.

I like your blog. I enjoyed reading your blog. It was amazing. Thanks a lot.

This program DOES NOT WORK !! Another govt program that is useless and they still keep calling. Reason, because they are from out of the United States and pinging phone numbers within the USA. This U.S Pharmacy is a bunch of winners to the point if they are told they are in violations they will tell you SO WHAT !! The US Govt could turn this off but seems not to want too.. Good luck

Harassed over and over with US Pham regarding Cialis for men calls. Please help us. We are in our 80s

the person that we paid the money to does,nt called us anymore.We still get called from other peoples saying that we won,moneys,a car from different sweetstakes,. so I don,t answer there phonecall.

When someone call with a unlistnumber or unavaible number ,you don,t answer the phone.I GET ABOUT 10 CALL A DAY.. THANK YOU VERY MUCH ,I hope you all will get the people that scammed seniors citizens . out or their money.

The suggestions are good but do they work?

Thanks for sharing this nice article. I read it completely and get some interesting knowledge from this. I again thanks for sharing such a nice blog.

July 2016. Why cant you stop these annoying calls. Wr have asked yo stop, we have played along. Are they too smart for you?

I get several calls a day saying they are the IRS and filing a suit against me. I sometimes return the call just to harass them. The numbers are often discontinued if not called immediately. I even got a message that the "Google user" was not available. These idiots even called on Memorial Day. I didn't know that the IRS works on holidays. I am obviously on the senior citizen scam list. I feel badly for the poor older folks that would fall for this.

Thanks for sharing this nice article. I read it completely and get some interesting knowledge from this. I again thanks for sharing such a nice blog.

I finally got a number we can call them at!! if thousands of people called them daily it would screw them up!! (302)504-4442 until they change it I guess

What I do is when I "answer "!the phone I wait and listen for a distinctive background noise. If I hear it ,I hang up. If not, then I say " Hello". I have waisted my time to answer the phone and hang up. Can't this be Stopped!

I get calls from them about 4-6 times a day - and always from a different number.

I've reported about 15-20 of these instances to the Do Not Call Registry complaint system, but I guess if the numbers are fake or our of Country either the FTC doesn't care or can't do anything.

They call 4-6 times a day, all from different numbers. Google search shows this telemarketer to be a widespread problem and they use or spoof fake phone numbers.Other numbers they have called from:
201-685-8085; 202-750-0949; 213-924-6361; 234-567-8982; 302-504-4442; 601-608-8111; 630-318-4762; 631-657-9395; 657-230-7532; 669-400-7952; 702-473-1648; 726-675-6552; 734-645-4356; 754-208-1530; 770-955-2827; 773-887-9220; 810-625-6831; 812-275-2544; 815-381-0841; 855-601-0003; 876-454-8830; 877-480-1454; 882-805-1884; 980-232-9942

Pre trial intervention is now using 810-201-6182

They are still calling regardless of how many times you tell them to stop calling. Phone scam is still going on.

Just called me today from 404-891-5588

Caller ID for this number read "not in use". I did not answer; that's what voice mail is for.

Viagra/Cialis  government grants  Irs lawsuits  They have rights and we don't - got to love this country

Why do we still allow this kind of scam calls? Is there anyway to shut them down?

I'm going to start answering their calls and say "you have reached the Union County Sheriffs department, please stay on the line and a deputy will answer your call as soon as possible" the wait a few minutes and repeat again. Hopefully they will give up.

Tries that, didn't help.

U S pharmacy
These guy don't take no for an answer. They have been calling me 5-7 times a week for 2 years. Yelling at them, asking them nicely, Blocking the number don't stop them they use a computer generated number that doesn't exist. Over 1000 different numbers blocked on my phone. If you don't know the number don't answer.
I have turned them in but it doesn't stop these clowns from India. Ein

The feds can track all my calls, see all my emails and what I do on my phone, give Iran 1,7 billion dollars but a tax payer like me can have my government stop these calls. Glad when we get a new presedent.

Apparently the FTC is impotent and cannot do anything about this harassment.
Phone companies will not block, or allow me to block, harassment phone caller's numbers.
What is needed is for the FTC to work with the FCC and to require that all phone companies make call blocking at the system level a feature of the phone service that we pay for.

I received at least 15 calls a day from this place, I'm sick and tired of being harassed by them! All foreigners,

I am a police Detective and have received literally thousands of these phone calls from US Pharmacy Plus and Uni Pharmacy and others. Now they are offering me on the phone and on line Hydrocodone with out a prescription shipped to me via USPS with a two week delivery time. In my capacity as a police detective I have reached out to DEA, USPS, FTC and others with no response. I contacted my US Senator and asked him to propose Federal Legislation allowing me to sell Hydrocodone from outside the US without a prescription so that I to can make millions legally that those who are telephoning me make illegally. Like those listed above I haven't heard from my Senator yet either. If any law enforcement entity is interested contact me through the FTC. They have my contact information from this posting.

Ditto ditto ditto. They have been calling me several times a day for months. I registered my phone on the "Do Not Call" list but they still keep calling. I don't always answer the phone, but when I do, I talk just long enough to confirm that its them so I can document the call when filing a complaint ... not that I think it will do any good. They have quite the scam going. On one occasion I talked for longer, asking the caller lots of questions. To make a long story short, they do seem to know when they are calling a number on the Do Not Call List, but it doesn't stop them from calling. I also asked on this occasion to talk to a manager and the caller flatly refused. They call from different numbers, and only use the same number once or a few times, then the number is disconnected. If you call a number back (to see if it is still active, for complaint purposes), and it is still active and someone answers, they usually hang up pretty quickly if you start asking a lot questions. The one question you can ask which doesn't cause them to hang up is "Are you US Pharmacy?" but you have to ask it with enthusiasm, like you are going to buy something. At that point I just document that the number is still US Pharmacy and is still active and hang up.

I have given up on the US Gov to do anything about this. Going to start supply Federal office number as contact point. DEA and FTC. Maybe then someone will act on this.

I'm Australian and they have started to target Australian's now with this scam. Hopefully someone will act on this as these Philshing scams are a global epidemic which needs to be eradicated.

Best method is to discuss several medications with them and the price.. Keep them on the phone as long as possible. Give them a fake address and then give the credit card# "Please stop calling or I will waste your time every single time. I am retired and have nothing but time on my hands"

They will usually hang up before you are finished! Takes a few times but they finally get the message.

It is a computer that calls you so they have nothing to lose if you do not answer. Answer and waste there time :)

Does anyone one have anot office phone number for state or us pharmacy? Not a 1800 number but a direct phone line to the call center. I broke Canadian pharmacy from calling me and I'll do the same for state pharmacy once I have a direct phone number. Canadian now has my number blocked. Any help with a number would be much appreciated.

These dip-wads call every morning BEFORE normal people are even awake. Frosts me to no end! Number being used (on my caller ID) is 404-891-5588. I answered this morning ready to blast it to them . . . of course no one was on the other end.

Just an FYI... they were harrassing me. I went balistic on them. Then they retaliated by using my phone number as a caller ID screen. Meaning that when they dial out... PEOPLE THINK the call came from MY number. None of the caller ID numbers are numbers that trace back to them

Just remember the person who owns that caller ID number is probably someone who was being harrassed by them too.

Play with them!Give fake ssn and made up bank acct-#s.Have fun and waste their time.

PLEASE HELP!!!! These calls never end. 5-7 a day for me

The FTC and the FCC are not able to do anything or do not want to. I believe the only way to put a stop to these harassing calls from US Pharmacy in India if for everyone getting these calls to call THE INDIA EMBASSY In Washington DC every time they get a call. Their number is 202-939-7000

It looks like the government is helpless and the problem cannot be resolved while they can fake their Caller ID. I am dropping my landline as it became total nuisance. Possibly, if phone companies feel sufficient pain from dropping customers, they'll look into how to disable fake Caller ID

I signed up for the do not call registry, and still get ALL of those calls for health insurance. I keep reporting them to the FTC, but they haven't stopped, maybe I should change my number.

They have not stopped!!! They call me EVERY DAY from a different number trying to sell me Viagra or Cialis! I block the number and file a complaint and they DO NOT STOP! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS CONSTANT HARASSMENT!!!

They want to get your credit card number, tell them you don't have one and they will hang up.

Well still getting phone calls, really looks like something is being done about this.

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